From a Leftist publication, a surprising report focused not on weapons but on the copycat aspect of mass shootings:
Journalism can be a powerful force for change, and news organizations should not flinch at reporting on mass shootings. But what the Daily News editors didn't realize was that this sensational approach can possibly do more than perturb or offend. Such images provide the notoriety mass killers crave and can even be a jolt of inspiration for the next shooter.
The next one struck just five weeks later, in Oregon. The 26-year-old man who murdered nine and wounded nine others at Umpqua Community College last Thursday had posted comments expressing admiration for the Virginia killer, apparently impressed with his social-media achievement: "His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems like the more people you kill, the more you're in the limelight."...
Evidence amassed by the FBI and other threat assessment experts shows that perpetrators and plotters look to past attacks both for inspiration and operational details, in hopes of causing even greater carnage. Would-be attackers frequently emulate the Columbine massacre; one high-level law enforcement agent told me that he's encountered dozens of students around the country who say they admire the Columbine killers. "Some of these kids now weren't even born when that happened," he said. The 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech and other attacks that generated major publicity have also spawned many copycats, according to several law enforcement officials I spoke with....
As part of our investigation into threat assessment, Mother Jones documented the chilling scope of the "Columbine effect": We found at least 74 plots and attacks across 30 states in which suspects and perpetrators claimed to have been inspired by the nation's worst high school massacre. Their goals ranged from attacking on the anniversary of Columbine to outdoing the original body count. Law enforcement stopped 53 of these plots before anyone was harmed. Twenty-one of them evolved into attacks, with a total of 89 victims killed, 126 injured, and nine perpetrators committing suicide. (See more about this data here.)
More from their research on the Columbine effect:
In at least 14 cases, the Columbine copycats aimed to attack on the anniversary of the original massacre. Individuals in 13 cases indicated that their goal was to outdo the Columbine body count. In at least 10 cases, the suspects and attackers referred to the pair who struck in 1999... as heroes, idols, martyrs, or God. And at least three plotters made pilgrimages to Columbine High School from other states.
But this data only raises the question: Why did these copycats seek the glory of infamy? What psychic void were they trying to fill?
Here are three writers that see a pattern: The absence of a father.
Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D., "
Obama Ignores the Obvious in Oregon: Yet Another Fatherless Killer."
What Obama did not say in his impassioned address, what would have truly been a break in the "routine" and rhetoric that inevitably follow tragedies involving firearms, was that 26-year-old shooter Chris Harper Mercer was the umpteenth example of a fatherless boy who grows up to be a violent criminal.
It is, of course, much easier to blame guns for our problems than to address the underlying causes of American violence. For one thing, gun control is a popular, quick fix. All it takes is a law and legislators can pat themselves on the back for having "dealt with" the problem.
Fatherlessness, on the other hand, is a trickier affair that requires more complicated and unpopular solutions, such as dealing with America's ridiculously lax no-fault divorce laws and a culture that privileges independence over personal responsibility.
And no one wants to face the ugly truth that our current redefinition of marriage from its historical identity as the union of one man and one woman has effectively made the role of fathers optional. By putting the desires of adults above the needs of children, we inadvertently feed the fire of violent crime....
As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox pointed out in 2013: "From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia's 'list of U.S. school attacks' involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place."
Wilcox has noted the overwhelming social scientific evidence connecting violence and broken homes, which suggests that boys living in single mother homes are almost twice as likely to end up delinquent compared to boys who enjoy good relationships with their father.
Another researcher, Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson, has written that "family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States."
And criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, have further documented the fallout from fatherless families, writing that "such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates."
As long as politicians and the media choose to focus exclusively on firearm availability in their response to violent crime, they will continue to miss the most important element involved.
A more mature response to America's current crisis would begin with a serious discussion of what factors have come together to produce the breakdown of American families and what can be done to reverse this trend.
Dennis Prager, "The Right does have answers on guns, Mr. President."
Why does the left focus on more gun control laws, and why doesn't the right?
One reason is quintessentially American. Most Americans believe that it is their right -- and even their duty -- to own guns for self-protection. Unique among major democratic and industrialized nations, Americans have traditionally believed in relying on the state as little as possible. The right carries on this tradition, while the left believes in relying on the state as much possible -- including, just to name a few areas, education, health care and personal protection.
A second reason for the left-right divide is that the left is uncomfortable with blaming people for bad actions. The right, on the other hand, is far more inclined to blame people for their bad actions....
The third reason for the left-right divide on guns is that the two sides ask different questions when formulating social policies. The right tends to ask, "Does it do good?" The left is more likely to ask, "Does it feel good?"...
On gun violence, the left doesn't ask, "What does good?" It asks, "What feels good?" It feels good to call for more gun laws. It enables liberals to feel good about themselves; it makes the right look bad; and it increases government control over the citizenry. A liberal trifecta....
One thing that would make incomparably more difference than more gun laws is more fathers, especially in the great majority of shooting murders -- those that are not part of a mass shooting. Why aren't liberals as passionate about policies that ensure that millions more men father their children as they are about gun laws? Because such thinking is anathema to the left. The left works diligently to keep single mothers dependent on the state (and therefore on the Democratic Party). And emphasizing a lack of fathers means human behavior is more to blame than guns.
Another is to cultivate participation in organized religion. Young men who attend church weekly commit far fewer murders than those who do not. But this too is anathema to the left. The secular left never offers religion as a solution to social problems. To do so, like emphasizing fathers, would shift the blame from guns to the criminal users of guns.
I would ask every journalist who cares about truth to ask every politician who argues for more guns laws, and every anti-gun activist, just two questions:
"Which do you believe would do more to decrease gun violence in America -- more gun laws or more fathers?" "More gun laws or more church attendance?"
Barack Obama says, "Our gun supply leads to more deaths. The GOP has no plausible alternative theory."
The GOP does. But as usual, few Republicans say what it is. And no liberal wants to hear it.
Matt Walsh, "Our Kids Don't Need Gun Control Laws, They Need Fathers":
In all of these cases, the media and Obama -- and this time even the perpetrator's father -- diligently counted how many guns the killers had in their homes but failed to notice how many parents they had in their homes. That seems like quite a detail to overlook. Before we wonder if a guy's access to guns turned him into a murderer, you'd think we'd pause to reflect on whether his lack of access to his own father might have played a role.
These mass killings happen with relative frequency, and they are usually not perpetrated by men who grew up in strong families with both biological parents present. Divorce and fatherlessness are the two elements that tie most of these cases together. No other factor -- gun laws, politics, racism, etc. -- comes close. Dylann Roof was a white guy killing black people, Vester Flanagan was a black guy killing white people. Their races were different, yet the one line that cut right through both of them was divorce. Even in cases where the killer's parents are still married, a closer inspection will often reveal a home filled with instability and chaos.
Indeed, it's not just the high publicity tragedies that seem to always involve broken homes. The statistics across the board are staggering and conclusive: 90 percent of homeless kids are from fatherless homes; 63 percent of kids who commit suicide are from fatherless homes; 71 percent of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes. Children from fatherless homes are at a much greater risk of developing drug addictions and are four times as likely to be poor. Out of all the youths in prison, a full 85 percent are from fatherless homes. In the inner city where violence and drug abuse are rampant, four out of every five children are growing up without their biological fathers.
You name the societal ill or problematic group -- from violent boys to promiscuous girls to everything in between -- and right there in the middle you'll find broken homes, unstable families and absent fathers.
So why aren't we talking about this?...
Fathers and mothers both play an integral role in the spiritual and emotional formation of a child. Take one or both away, and there's a chance the child becomes emotionally and spiritually deformed. It's a very simple formula. There's no disputing it -- just ignoring it -- and I think we choose to ignore it for a few reasons.
For one thing, the left-wing cultural narrative requires us to deny the distinction between men and women, which means denying the distinction between mothers and fathers. According to progressivism, the nuclear, biological family is but one type of arrangement, one variant equal in every way to families with one mom or two moms or three dads or whatever, and none can be judged more ideal than the others....
Even though progressives obsess over organic milk and free-range chickens, they pretend that the natural, organic family -- the family as it was meant to be -- is in no way superior to the modified versions. But to connect violence to broken homes is to admit that (shock!) kids benefit from having mom and dad in the same house. Progressivism can make no such admission, so it continues blaming bad things on inanimate objects, rather than fatherlessness and divorce.
But for another thing, beyond ideology, I think we ignore the family's role in all of this because it hits, literally, too close to home. Some single mothers bizarrely see a discussion about fatherhood as an attack on them, and some men, especially divorced men, see the hand wringing over fatherlessness as an affront against them. Both groups make it impossible to have this conversation.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are equally hesitant to speak categorically in favor of the nuclear family. We know it's challenging and difficult to be a parent and a spouse.... If we acknowledge that our kids need us, that they depend on our presence, that they require our full-time love and support, then we've backed ourselves into a corner. If the going gets tough, we have to stick around.... We minimize the importance of families to provide ourselves with an escape hatch, should we need it.... These are scary propositions -- all this duty and responsibility stuff. We'd rather not dwell on it. Let's get back to talking about gun laws and mental health, we think. That's a much more comfortable debate. Much more removed from our daily lives. It requires much less of us. Actually, it requires absolutely nothing -- which is ideal.
I don't think all of our problems in society can be solved through stable families, but I do think that, if we want to address them, we should begin with the simple but hard things: staying married, raising our kids, being examples, instilling faith and values, teaching them how to be good people, etc. It's not foolproof, but it's a start.
We just have to be willing to do the work.
On his Facebook page, Walsh emphasized that he was speaking about patterns and principles:
I'm not saying these people turn into killers solely because they come from broken homes. I'm not saying every kid from a broken home will be a killer. I'm not saying a kid from a broken home can't grow into a fine adult. I'm not saying any of that, so please don't derail this conversation by pretending that I am. What I'm saying is very simple: in principle, kids are meant to have two parents. A mom and a dad. In principle, this is the ideal arrangement. In principle, the more we stray from this arrangement in our society, the worse things get. The statistics absolutely back me up here.
And that means we should probably at some point start discussing the real solutions. Not gun control. Not policies. Not politics. Parenting. If we REALLY want to cut down on all of these bad things, we should begin by getting married before we have kids, staying married, parenting our kids together with our spouses, and guiding and teaching and raising them so that they can grow into well adjusted adults. Simple.
The City of Tulsa is asking for public to submit ideas for Route 66-themed artwork to be placed at the Admiral and Mingo traffic circle.
Tulsa is considering installation of new public art in the Traffic Circle map at the intersection of East Admiral Place and North Mingo Road, on the original 1926 to 1932 alignment of Historic Route 66. This was the original site of a tourist court operated by Cyrus Avery, the "Father of Route 66". Mouse over the postcard to see more about the tourist court.
What artistic concepts appeal to you: Serious or humorus? Historic or futuristic? Traditional or avant garde? Static or kinetic? Funky and eclectic?
Share ideas for public art that YOU think would advance Route 66 tourism in Tulsa to capture the imagination of Route 66 enthusiasts. You may also attach a photo to further illustrate your idea.
Here is the comment I submitted:
What draws visitors from around the world to Route 66? It's the chance to relive the golden age of American auto travel through the buildings and businesses that line the old highway. Route 66 enthusiasts come to experience cafes, tourist courts, and gas stations, streamline Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern architecture, neon signs and landmark buildings, and to meet small-business owners like Dawn Welch in Stroud and Laurel Kane in Afton who have breathed life into these places that were long ago bypassed by the interstate. Route 66 thrills foreign visitors who want to connect to America's distinctive character -- the independence embodied by auto travel, small-business entrepreneurship, and wide-open spaces.
Spending money on some "iconic" piece of new art misses the point of Route 66. If we have money to spend to attract Route 66 enthusiasts to Tulsa, it would be better spent on funding the preservation and restoration of historic buildings and signage. The federal Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program helped restore dozens of historic sites along the highway, including the Vickery Service Station at 6th and Elgin, for a mere $10 million. By comparison, the $15 million Tulsa County voters set aside for Route 66 in Vision 2025 has done little to promote preservation, while neon signs continue to be replaced with backlit plastic and historic buildings are bulldozed.
We already have a piece of "iconic" Route 66 art at Cyrus Avery Plaza. The historic Meadow Gold sign and the Warehouse Market tower are iconic as well. Our city's Route 66 efforts should be concentrated on (1) protecting and restoring the historic resources that attract Route 66 travelers; (2) developing material to promote those historic resources to be available online and brochures at tourist sites, welcome centers, and accommodations along the full length of Route 66; (3) providing directional signage and interpretive signage to make it easier for visitors to get on 66 and then back to the interstate, find the most interesting sections of the road through Tulsa, and know what they're looking at when they get there. Sites that are in the spirit of Route 66 but not right on the highway -- e.g., the Golden Driller, the Admiral Twin Drive-In, neon signs like Sheridan Lanes and Moody's Jewelry -- should be included as landmarks of interest for the visitor.
Much could be accomplished with the existing hotel/motel tax money which is earmarked for tourism development. The city should consider special historic preservation zoning districts to discourage demolition and to ensure that new construction is in keeping with the historic character of different portions of the route.
Politics is about change. If you don't believe change is possible, you're not an advocate for politics; you're simply a guy taking a check, discussing which other guys should get checks.
Ace posted this over a week ago, in reaction to John Boehner's resignation, but it's still worth your time and attention. He explains why Boehner's entire leadership team should be purged and urges Freedom Caucus members and other House Republican outsiders to block them from remaining in leadership.
...Under no circumstances should the Freedom Caucus permit McCarthy, Scalise, or Cathy McMorris Rogers -- all the Boehner Warriors who have brought GOP morale to all-time lows -- to serve in any leadership position. A purge is a purge. To permit any of this crew to profit from their disasters would show the GOP to be what many of us strongly suspect it is -- basically, the Teachers Union for RINOs, an organization devoted to protecting its members jobs and not to serving its alleged constituents.
4. And on that point, note that if McCarthy, Scalise, and McMorris Rogers merely advance one step each in the leadership, then the only person to have paid any price here is Boehner; the rest of them will actually benefit from the Freedom Caucus forcing them out.
They should not benefit. We keep saying, of Obama, that failure ought to have consequences; how can this team be characterized as anything other than complete failures?
Are we rewarding Republican failures while claiming Obama should be held accountable for his own?
At the heart of the GOP failure is the failure to offer Republican voters any hope that things can be better. Congressional Republican leaders offered a great deal of hope in 2014 that GOP majorities in both houses could block and reverse Obamacare and executive amnesty; voters responded enthusiastically, giving Congressional Republicans a clear mandate to block Obama's lawlessness, and the Congressional GOP leadership proceeded to let them down, offering one excuse after another and acting like we were fools to believe their promises of action and resistance.
The fecklessness, failures, and flat-out betrayals of the current GOP leadership has destroyed all hope in the GOP. And a political movement without hope is not a political movement at all; it is simply an advocacy organization for getting a very small number of people cush jobs in the federal government.
If there is to be any hope permitted to the rank and file of the Republican Party, then we need big changes that permit us the illusion and fantasy of hope, without which we are nothing at all, just dejected former Republican voters.
Hope requires a change -- Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and Cathy McMorris-Rogers are no change at all; they are simply John Boehner's less accomplished inferior employees.
I find it increasingly difficult to write about politics now, you may have noticed; it's because I can no longer even pretend to care which a[-----]e is in which federal sinecure.
I think many people feel the way I do.
And if you want to entice the alienated back into the fold, you have to at least let us dream of the possibility of actual change.
That requires allowing us hope -- and not simply doubling-down on the current crop of failures and fainthearts we are obligated, sourly, to call our "leadership."
Hope is a silly illusion, but it is a necessary, sustaining silly illusion.
Faint heart never won fair lady, fellas. Nor have fainthearts ever contributed anything to society, except cowardice and inertia.
Read the whole thing, which includes an analogy involving the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror."
It seemed like a good idea: Head to a coffeehouse this afternoon with my daughter as she worked on her homework for Monday. We'd have a change of scenery from home, get some lunch, and I'd be there to keep her on track without hovering too closely. For whatever reason, it seems less claustrophobic to sit together at a small table in a coffeehouse than it does to sit around a larger table in our kitchen. Most of her schoolwork required access to the Internet -- a situation that I deplore -- so we needed to be some place where the wifi was working.
After church, we headed to our favorite coffeehouse, ordered a gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich and a breakfast burrito, a bottomless coffee, and a San Pelligrino orange, and sat down to work.
We could connect to the router, but our devices were never assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which meant the Internet was inaccessible. We tried on two different Windows laptops, an iPod, and an Android tablet with the same result.
My daughter spoke to the barista, whose only advice was The IT Crowd mantra:
We dutifully rebooted the laptops and tried again -- no joy, as I expected. I asked the barista if he could reset the router, and he said it can cause problems for their cash register and order printer, problems that last for hours. That's understandable, but my daughter had to have wifi, so we left.
As it was close to 1 p.m. and the Sunday lunch rush, Panera or Qdoba seemed like a bad idea. I decided to head to a close-by coffeehouse that was new enough that I thought it might be less crowded, but we had the same problem there, as did another customer. I really should have checked the connection before ordering drinks.
So we headed for home, $30 poorer and having wasted two hours.
Here's my theory: While the router was working at each of the coffeehouses, its pool of available IP addresses was exhausted.
When you connect to a wifi network with your laptop, phone, or tablet, your computer requests an IP address. In the bad old days, you would have to ask a system administrator for an available address on the network, then manually configure your network adapter with that address and reboot your device.
In response to this inconvenience, the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol was developed and became widely available in the late '90s. With DHCP, your device automatically sends out a request for an IP address when it connects to a network, and a DHCP server (usually resident on the router) answers the request by granting a "lease" on a specific address for a specific length of time.
The DHCP server only has a certain number of addresses in its pool, and leases are granted for a fixed length of time. The duration of the lease and the number of addresses are often part of the router configuration. In a typical setup, a total of 254 addresses are available, with a small number of those addresses reserved for devices that are always connected, and the remainder available to the DHCP server. A typical lease length is one day. Once the lease is granted on an IP address, the address will be unavailable for reassignment until one of three things happens: (1) the lease expires, (2) the lease is manually revoked, or (3) the DHCP server is restarted (e.g., by turning the router off and back on).
This means that if around 250 customers connect to your network over the course of a few hours, you'll run out of IP addresses for the rest of the day, and anyone trying to connect to the network after that point will be disappointed.
You may think it unlikely that so many would try to connect in such a short time, but consider the ubiquity of wifi-enabled phones and tablets. If a customer has ever connected to your network with her phone, the next time she comes in to order a latte to go, it's likely that the phone will automatically request and receive an IP address from the router, even if the phone never leaves her pocket.
Dear coffeehouse owner, as much as I enjoy your coffee and the ambiance you've created, it's the ability to get work done at your establishment that allows me to justify to myself the extra cost of the coffee and food over what I'd spend to drink and eat at home. If a coffeehouse's internet connection is hit-or-miss, I'll have to find somewhere else to work -- and somewhere else to spend money.
There are some steps you can take to improve the likelihood that your customers will get the wifi service they expect:
- Reduce the DHCP lease duration to an hour or less. Exactly how you do this will vary by router -- check your manual. There's no downside to this; if a customer needs to be connected for a longer period, his device will automatically send a renewal request, and the customer won't perceive a break in service.
- Expand the number of available DHCP addresses. Your default setup may not be maximizing the number of addresses your router can support.
- Require users to check a box or click "Connect" before they can get on the internet. Both Starbucks and Panera do this, and it should eliminate the kind of inadvertent connections I mentioned above. This also gives you a chance to display and receive consent to your terms of usage before granting the customer access to your network.
- If possible, move your business-critical devices to their own secured network and assign fixed IP addresses to each. Separating your credit-card machine, order management system, and your PC with schedule and HR records from the public network just makes good sense, and it also allows you to reset the public network -- and clear any zombie DHCP leases -- without affecting the devices you need to run your business. Even if a separate secure network isn't practical, reserving fixed IP addresses for your business-critical devices will make it easier for your devices to find each other and resume operation if a router reset becomes necessary.
And if you need a hand with any of the above, give me a holler. I do computer stuff for a living, and while networks aren't my speciality, I've had to configure routers as part of my job. And I will work for coffee.
A speech by President Ronald Reagan about parental choice in education forms the framework of this video montage, which begins with remarks from Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker, all supportive of giving parents real choice in finding the right education for their children. Many of them were involved in implementing effective school choice programs in their own states.
But Oklahoma lags behind many of these states in providing the same range of choices to their families, despite overwhelming Republican majorities in the legislature and total control of statewide elective offices. During the second half of the video, Oklahoma Republican elected officials -- Sen. James Lankford, Congressmen Jim Bridenstine and Steve Russell, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb -- and Republican party leaders -- GOP vice chairman Estela Hernandez, OFRW President Pam Pollard -- urge bold action by our state legislature to improve educational choice.
Sadly, six key Republican leaders aren't on this video. Perhaps they weren't asked (surely they were), perhaps they didn't have time (isn't this worth making time?), but I'm disappointed not to see Gov. Mary Fallin, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, State Senate President pro tempore Brian Bingman, State House Speaker Jeff Hickman, and education committee chairmen Sen. John Ford and Rep. Ann Coody. These are the people in the best position to make something happen and are likely the reason that very little has.
I am late getting this put together, late taking my own time to remember the events of 14 years ago.
Take a moment to remember University of Tulsa and Memorial High School graduate Jayesh Shah, who worked on the 103rd floor of the north tower for Cantor Fitzgerald, and to pray for his family, who deeply miss their brother, son, husband, and father. This 2002 story from the Houston Chronicle tells about Jay's family and their desperate search through the streets of New York for hopeful news that never came. Jay's family returned again to New York today to honor his memory and the memory of all who perished that day.
Many of the links from previous years are reprised below, as they remain excellent resources for refreshing our collective memory and, I hope, rekindling our resolve. Here are a few new items worthy of note:
On Facebook, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote:
Government and people of Israel stand with the United States of America in marking 14 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
As we remember those who perished, we remain committed to fighting the forces of militant Islam that have caused so much death and destruction both before and since that terrible day. Our commitment is matched only by our conviction that we will prevail.
Bookworm Room quotes at length from a Charles Krauthammer column on the Iran deal, which notes that, not only do we have to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, and to allow them access to funds to continue to destabilize the Middle East, America is obliging itself to defend Iran against efforts, like the Stuxnet computer virus, to sabotage Iran's development of nuclear weapons.
Here Is New York has added a site called Voices of 9/11, video interviews with 500 eyewitnesses, recorded in 2002 and 2003.
Le Figaro has a montage of amateur video taken in lower Manhattan the morning of 9/11, including a clip of the first plane hitting the North Tower. The images and language are unfiltered and may be disturbing. This clip comes via Ace of Spades HQ. Ace writes:
I'm linking it because this pulls no punches. It is not sanitized. It includes screaming in horror, and f-bombs, and blasphemies (the "JFC!" one), from people recording the attacks on their cell phones.
I'm linking it just because it's something we don't see much in American media, where things tend to be sanitized, Because Backlash.
Bookworm Room reminds us why we need to remember:
Last year on 9/11, my remembrance post looked at how our political class, led by Barack Obama, seemed to have forgotten every lesson learned from 9/11. Under his aegis, I pointed out, our borders were meaningless, the always dangerous Middle East was a swirling mass of chaos, and ISIS was cutting a bloody swath through that benighted land. This year, things are worse.
Obama's Middle Eastern policies -- policies that systematically destabilized Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt, and that enabled anarchy in Syria and ISIS's rise -- have led to the largest migrant crisis since Rome's downfall....
The worst irony of today's 9/11 anniversary, though, is that yesterday, the fourteenth anniversary of the day before the world changed forever, the Obama-led Democrat party took steps to ensure that 9/11, rather than seeing the peak of Islamic terrorism, will begin to look like a dry run, just as the 1993 World Trade Center attack was a dry run....
With every passing year, 9/11's emotional resonance lessens, with September 11 becoming nothing more than a sad story rather than both a national tragedy and a wake-up call. Even worse, too many of the younger generation don't even have a textbook acquaintance with 9/11. Our continued survival as a free nation demands that we remember 9/11 in a way that enables us to understand the lessons it teaches about the nature of evil and about the evil nature of radical Islam, whether it emanates from Sunni or Shia Islamists.
Ben Domenech, writing at The Federalist, calls 9/11 the day America forgot. Far from producing change in attitudes and behaviors, nothing much changed after a month or so of bipartisanship and resolve.
From news.com.au: 30 pictures of 9/11 that show you why you should never forget.
A year after the attacks, an exhibit of photos showing the aftermath, recovery efforts, and the indomitable spirit of New Yorkers toured the nation and is still online: Here Is New York.
The History Channel has moved its 9/11 content. There used to be an interactive site on the 9/11 attacks here, but it seems no longer to be on the web, and the archived version appears to be incomplete.
The ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11 told the story of the events, beginning with the 1993 World Trade Center attack, that led to the 9/11/2001 attack. Because it put certain American politicians in a bad light, it has not been rebroadcast in the US, and the original version is hard to find, but not impossible for the tech savvy. You can watch a documentary about the political pressure that led to the censorship of the mini-series, "Blocking the Path to 9/11," on the Internet Archive.
Some personal recollections of the day:
Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer offers his account of 9/11 with President Bush aboard Air Force One, and the threat that the president's plane might itself be compromised by terrorists.
In 2009, HotAir blogger Allahpundit tweeted his memories of the day. He lived in downtown Manhattan, not far from the World Trade Center.
Gerard Vanderleun was watching from Brooklyn Heights when the towers fell, recording his observations online: "Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles."
Rusty Weiss says, "9/11 saved my life," shocking him out of complacency as a responsibility-shirking young man.
Robert Spencer lists ten things we should have done since 9/11 to defeat Islamism, but we haven't because of political correctness. Number 4 rings a bell:
It is remarkable that thirteen years after 9/11, not a single mosque or Islamic school in the U.S. has any organized program to teach Muslims why the al-Qaeda/Islamic State understanding of Islam is wrong and should be rejected. Yet they ostensibly reject this view of Islam, so why don't such programs exist? Even more remarkable than their absence is the fact that no government or law enforcement authorities are calling upon Muslims to implement them.
Such programs must be instituted, and made transparent and open to inspection, so as to ensure their sincerity and thoroughness.
Tulsans know what happens when a Muslim does speak out and explain that Islamists aren't good Muslims.
Scott Ott, the artist formerly known as Scrappleface, is an evangelical Christian and a writer for PJMedia. He has joined the chorus of too-clever-by-half folks who say the way to deal with societal disagreement over the nature and purpose of marriage is to abolish state recognition of marriage.
Liberty-loving people, who revere the extraordinary innovation of a government that guards individual rights, should work now to get government out of the business of marriage licenses, employee benefits based on marital status, tax breaks for married couples, and any other kind of regulation or benefit, regarding marriage or marriage substitutes.
Here in Oklahoma, certain Republican voices have echoed his sentiments and reasoning, including party activists Richard Engle and David Van Risseghem.
The top-rated comments to Ott's column all disagree with him and point out the consequences of removing government recognition of a fundamental unit of society that arises organically from the nature of human reproduction. Here is the top comment by someone calling herself "werewife":
Sorry to have to join the general dissent here, and for a nonreligious reason. The leftist program is to reduce the active institutions of society to just two: The atomized single individual, and the sovereign omnipotent State. Everything in between - the congregation, the workplace, the club, the sports league or community theater company or moms' playgroup or whatever, and especially the FAMILY - will be reduced to an entirely personal and private matter with no status whatsoever in the public realm which the almighty State must respect, unless the group itself is an active arm/agent of the State. The Soviet Union ran on such a principle. Soon enough these United States will too, and proposals like the above will only make it easier.
For an expanded discussion of this idea, see Stella Morabito's piece at The Federalist, "How Personal Relationships Threaten The Power of the State". Morabito is responding to an article that praises a single mother who chose to keep the child's father out of their lives, and she quotes several leftist and feminist authors who see intact families as a source of inequality. Morabito writes:
In all of their ponderings about inequality, our progressive friends never fully address the ultimate source of human misery: isolation brought about by broken and weak human relationships. Of course, cultivating strong human relationships would be counter-productive to an agenda that aims to grow impersonal bureaucracy and its attendant power cliques....
Some of the 12 year olds in Lily's world are in the business of telling all of us what to do and how to live, and ensuring that the only enduring relationships we have are with our government keepers. Others among them -- in politics, academia, the media, Hollywood -- will keep in place conditions that that suppress strong personal relationships. Why? Because only weakened human relationships and alienation can serve to build a culture of distrust, envy, and divisions in class, gender, race, etc. that empowers an elite "vanguard"--among whom, politicians, academics and media moguls are prominent.
By enabling a culture of excess in which self-absorption and self-indulgence reign supreme, power elites seem invested in guaranteeing our problems will be self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating. Their bait -- sloth, sex, and nonstop mind-numbing entertainment - is a feel-good trap. Nothing substantial can be built on what they offer, least of all solid relationships....
It seems funny, doesn't it, how progressive agendas always seem to begin as "solutions" in search of problems? Collectivist agendas breed alienation, isolation, distrust, and dependency, which produce poverty, social chaos, and epidemic anxiety, which soften the ground for collectivist agendas. The myth of "inequality" is perpetuated with the prescription that further isolates people from one another.
Totalitarian states have a history (and a present-day practice) of banning groups operating independently of the state, no matter how apparently benign or apolitical their purpose, because any group can pose a threat to the state's power. Consider the illegal independent labor union in Poland, Solidarity, which brought down the communist government, aided by a Catholic hierarchy that the Communist Party had tolerated. The Chinese Communists didn't make the same mistake: They have government-controlled Catholic-style and Protestant-style churches; independent churches (known as "house churches") are illegal and subject to persecution. The Chinese government has been relentless in pursuit of a system of eastern philosophy called Falun Gong.
It is also standard practice for totalitarian governments to sow the seeds of distrust and alienation everywhere, but especially within families. Children are indoctrinated in the state ideology and taught to identify and report deviationist thought by their parents. There are no independent clubs for children, only the state-run Young Pioneers. Betrayal is rewarded; loyalty makes you subject to collective punishment.
Earlier this year, I saw the "Operation Pedro Pan" exhibit at the History Miami museum. The exhibit powerfully recounts the experiences of the children (mostly in their late pre-teens or early teens) who were airlifted to foster homes in the United States in the early days of the Cuban Revolution. The Castro government had nationalized the schools, including church-run schools, and Christian Cuban parents sent their children to the US to keep them from being indoctrinated by the Communists and against family and religion. (More about that exhibit another time.)
Here are a few more apt comments on Ott's piece. Ruta22 writes:
You lost me at "a government that guards individual rights". Your argument is a bad joke. Another example of someone who doesn't get what's really going on. Disappointing would be an understatement.
Basically, you call for us to cede both public space and government to leftwing totalitarians. Don't pretend otherwise. If you don't understand yet what the leftist plan to do in that vacuum, you need to go read some history. There's a much bigger, organized plan by the left going on that you're not willing to admit to.
I'd write more, but why bother? Anyone who can write "let's be the people of liberty who help them escape from the burden of law through Jesus" doesn't understand that the day that you are no longer allowed to openly preach about Jesus may soon be coming. That's the whole point to the leftist game plan. Got it?
"Cruising Troll" points out that the issue is not how two people relate to each other, but how society deals with this intimate relationship and its consequences:
This is the case in EVERY human society, whether a Stone Age tribe hidden in the upper reaches of the Amazon Basin or the most "advanced" secular European country. Custom and law (the two ARE related) guide how we treat these relationships, both developed over long periods of time based on human experience.
So no Scott, you're wrong about marriage. Anybody who says that government has no place to "incentivize or reward or restrain mutually-voluntary intimate relationships" is either ignorant, naive, or evil. I fully understand the libertarian impulse behind such a statement, but it is misplaced. Perhaps sufficient wealth and technology can successfully ameliorate the realities that have resulted in EVERY human society having a particular intimate relationship called "marriage" that is distinctly different from merely two (or more) people shaggin' in the bushes, but color me skeptical.
It's certainly reasonable to ask whether a particular government policy/law regarding marriage is rational, and a libertarian perspective can be valuable in assessing the matter, but less so if it starts from a position of naivete.
Just for fun, an episode of the 1950s British sitcom: Tony goes overboard buying new photographic equipment after his ancient camera blows up, and the situation becomes desperate when the first payment is due. Sid is exasperated.
"And your exposures are too long. Five minutes! You had to wait for that snail to fall asleep last week before you could photograph it."
"Well, fair's fair. He was shiftin' a bit."
Here's a fun YouTube find for fans of the Goon Show. On October 31, 1965, Harry Secombe appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show during the two-month Broadway run of the musical Pickwick. Here he is performing the big song from the show, "If I Ruled the World":
Leslie Bricusse was the lyricist for Pickwick, better known for his later work on Doctor Dolittle, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and another Dickens adaptation, Scrooge.
Today, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning British monarch, surpassing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. Elizabeth acceded to the throne on the death of her father, George VI in 1952. She has been described as an "accidental queen," advancing to heir presumptive when her uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 and her father, Prince Albert, the Duke of York, became King George VI.
The birth of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor on April 21, 1926 was a relatively minor event for a world teetering between two world wars and just three years away from the Great Depression.
The curly-haired "Lilibet" was destined for marriage, not the throne.
But after reigning for just 325 days, her childless uncle Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American.
Princess Elizabeth's father inherited the crown as George VI and she suddenly became heir to the throne.
When the young Elizabeth and her sister Margaret had to move to Buckingham Palace she asked her nanny: "What, you mean forever?"
On her 21st birthday she vowed to spend her life serving her country....
Queen Elizabeth's first prime minister was Winston Churchill, a man who had served in the army of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.
By the time the current holder of that job, David Cameron, was born in 1966, she had already been monarch for 14 years.
"The first time she saw [Cameron] he was playing a rabbit in a school production in which her son Prince Edward was taking part," royal historian Hugo Vickers said.
"He is the man from whom she now takes formal advice."
Mark Steyn takes the occasion to reflect upon the nature of monarchy and the increasingly monarchical presidency:
There have been moments in the last 63 years when one might have wished for a little more imagination from the Queen. But in an undeferential and unmonarchical age she has played a difficult hand very shrewdly. The picture at top right was taken by my beloved daughter during the Diamond Jubilee year. My little girl has met many celebrities, from Macaulay Culkin all the way to Lindsey Graham (at the local fair last month), but she thought the Queen was very "cool" in the way she didn't feel the need to work the room. What I liked that day was the way she didn't bother with the 40-car motorcade - just a vehicle in front of a couple of coppers, and one behind with another copper and a lady-in-waiting, all of whom would take a bullet for her, which I cannot reliably say of those Secret Service guys cavorting with their Cartagena hookers. At any rate, my daughter got within a foot of the Queen, which she'll never do with Obama or Hillary when they're conveyed by their motorcades to a simulacrum of a visit to an ice-cream parlor on Martha's Vineyard and the surrounding streets are closed and vacuumed of all non-credentialed persons. The citizen-executive has become, as Adams proposed, His Mostly Benign Highness: a distant, all-powerful sovereign -- but kindly, and generous with his food stamps, if merciless with his IRS audits.
Monarchy is not to everyone's taste, of course, least of all the pundit class in Fleet Street. But it's interesting to note that their main objection to the Royal Family these days is not that they are an affront to the masses in a democratic age, but that they're way too popular. This is republicanism as class marker: Apparently, the only argument against an anachronistic, out-of-touch hereditary family ruling by divine right is that they appeal to the basest instincts of the proletariat. I remember, years ago, being told by a Hampstead intellectual that the problem with the Queen was that she was too middle class. Today, for Britain's elites, monarchy is simply too, too common. For most of the rest of us, by comparison with all the alternatives, Elizabeth II has been for 63 years about the least worst person to have to live under.
Steyn reprises his column to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, pondering the success of Elizabeth's realms among the community of nations. For she is also the monarch of Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
In the 2012 Heritage Foundation rankings of global economic freedom, eight of the top ten nations are current or former realms of the Crown, including the top four: Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand. So are about half of the 20 economies with the highest GDP per capita, and for large countries with populations over 20 million the top three is an Anglosphere sweep: Australia, Canada, the United States. Three-sevenths of the G7 are nations of British descent, and so are two-fifths of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Of course, no record is unblemished, and in the fringes and fag-ends of empire lurk Gaza, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
Nevertheless, from South Africa to India, today the key regional powers in almost every corner of the globe are British-derived -- and, even among the lesser players, as a general rule you're better off for having been exposed to British rule than not: Why is Haiti Haiti and Barbados Barbados? Whatever part of the map you find yourself in, the surest guide to comparative rankings is which territories have been under the British Crown and which haven't.
The Queen could say all this, in one almighty blow-out Christmas message to remember, but it's not her style.
Is the monarchy anything to do with the unrivaled record of the Britannic inheritance? Working for the Free French in London during the war, Simone Weil found herself pondering why, among the European powers, only England had maintained 'a centuries-old tradition of liberty'. She was struck by the paradox of the Westminster system -- that ultimate power is vested in one who cannot wield it in any practical sense. Endowing the sovereignty of the nation in an absentee monarch -- as Australia does -- is an even more exquisite refinement of the Weil theory: vesting power in its literal rather than merely political absence.
What Malcolm Turnbull objects to most -- she doesn't live here! -- is what I find most appealing. A minimalist monarchy is perhaps the most benign form of government one could devise -- except that no hyper-rationalist would ever 'devise' such a thing at all.